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The ‘Clash on the Dunes’ boxing match will be at iconic venue

Time: November 25, 2019

On the night more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down. (Supplied)
  • Andy Ruiz II and Anthony Joshua will match at the Diriyah Arena
  • Joshua will be looking to regain some of his belts after suffering defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier

RIYADH: A boxing match needs a spectacular venue and few can compare to the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia which is now ready for the Clash on the Dunes as World Champion Andy Ruiz II takes on Anthony Joshua.

Earlier this week, Joshua has promised the world an ‘iconic evening of boxing’ as he flew into the Kingdom on Saturday night ahead of the bout on December 7.

The first-ever World Heavyweight title fight to take place in the Middle Easy will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.

“The arena and site are utterly breath-taking, with a theme park and concert the night before as well. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in boxing. The Clash on the Dunes will be a night to remember. We can’t wait,” Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing, said.

The Diriyah Arena has been constructed by 175 staff working tirelessly to transform the 10,000 sq m site, which includes 295 tonnes of steel, which would stretch 57km. Work began on October 7, just two months out, with 3,000 sqm of scaffolding needed to complete the work.

On the night more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down.

Joshua will be looking to regain his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts after suffering defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier this year, but the British heavyweight will have the backing thousands of UK fans join boxing enthusiasts from more than 60 countries.

Ahead of landing in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night to set up his pre-fight training camp, Anthony Joshua said: “It’ll definitely be a night people will tell their grandchildren they were at, one of those iconic evenings of boxing. Everyone from Saudi has been brilliant to work with.”

Fans will approach the Diriyah Arena via the Diriyah Oasis, a huge sprawling entertainment hub which includes ice-skating outdoors, sky diving, jetski-ing and ziplining among a host of activities on offer. The Diriyah Oasis is split into the four zones – Nature, Imagination, Reflection, Excitement- giving families a place to come together, and at its heart lies an astonishing grand installation by world-renowned Italian artist, Edoardo Tresoldi.

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, epic month of sports which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.

The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with huge concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform. So far artists such as Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker, Clean Bandit and Maluma have performed to 40,000 concert goers.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

Time: November 14, 2019

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh
  • The crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has ordered four planes to transport Al-Hilal fans to Japan to support the club in their AFC Champions League final second leg match against the Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. The return leg is in Saitama, near Tokyo on Nov. 24.

The Saudi Press Agency said the crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship and to boost the morale of the team to seal the title.

The Saudi General Sport Authority have begun to coordinate with Al-Hilal’s administration to arrange for transporting fans to Japan.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Wrestling fans witness first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia

Time: November 01, 2019 
WWE wrestler Natalya is participating in the WWE wrestling show in the Kingdom for the second time. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
  • For WWE wrestler Natalya, Saudi Arabia is very clean, “the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia.”

RIYADH: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel fans were ignited for a monumental evening.

The loaded card for Riyadh Season was not the only treat in store for attendees. It also marked the first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia, setting a precedent for fans in King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh as they cheered raucously for Natalya and Lacey Evans.

“This is my second time in Saudi Arabia and I’m so excited,” Natalya told Arab News before the match, which she won. Her first trip was to Jeddah a few months ago. “We’ve been really busy since we landed. We went to a children’s hospital, lots of media interviews and working out.”

She said she had a great time during her first trip, and it was a nice introduction to the Kingdom.

Photo Gallery of the show 

“I was just as excited then as I am now. I’d never been to Saudi Arabia before so I didn’t know what to expect … but now I feel so excited and ready to be here,” she added.

“One thing that stood out to me on both trips is the people. They’ve been so polite and respectful and nice to all of us. You feel so welcome,” Natalya said.

“Saudi Arabia is very clean, the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia,” she added.

“To be here in Riyadh, this trip is more special because I’ll be part of the first ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia. I think that’s why it feels so different, so much more special than before,” she said.

“I feel like we’re opening new doors. We’re creating an even closer bond with Saudi Arabia. When you look back on WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, we’ve been coming here for years. We’ve been coming to the Middle East since the 1990s,” she added. “I’m excited and grateful that the WWE universe and our fans in Saudi Arabia get to be part of this journey with us, and that our fans around the world get to experience this life-changing event. It’s very special,” Natalya said.

“This first ever women’s match … is bigger than me, bigger than Lacey, bigger than WWE … Sharing this journey with everybody makes it more special, knowing that WWE is in over 180 countries around the world, knowing that so many people will be with us,” she added.

“I couldn’t be more grateful, and I know it’s something I’ll never forget … I want to thank you all for welcoming us with open arms.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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WWE Riyadh Crown Jewel to feature first women’s match in Saudi Arabia

Time: October 30, 2019  

The match will be part of the Jewel Crown event at Riyadh Season. (Screen grab)

  • The match between Natalya and Lacey Evans will be the first ever women’s wrestling match in Saudi Arabia
  • Braun Strowman, Tyson Fury, Cain Velasquez, and Brock Lesnar will also compete at the Crown Jewel

RIYADH: WWE announced on Wednesday, the first ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia will take place on Thursday, during the Crown Jewel press conference.
The conference was held at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, and the event is part of Riyadh Season, which includes over 100 events happening in two months.
WWE Superstars Natalya and Lacey Evans will be the starts of the women’s match.
Crown Jewel, one of WWE’s premier pay-per-view events, will also feature Roman Reigns and matches between other boxing champions.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez will battle for the WWE title, while Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury will have a match too.
Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt will compete for the Universal Championship.
Mansoor, a Saudi wrestler who won in the WWE’s largest Battle Royale in history, also spoke during the press conference.
“I will make you proud and will not disappoint you,” he said to the Saudi crowds.
International boxing champions Fury and Strowman commented on their match, as well as Velasquez and Lesnar.
Boxing icons Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton were also at the junket.

Watch the live press conference here:

This article was first published in Arab News

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Xponential to open 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia

Time: June 19, 2019     

Xponential to open 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia

Xponential Fitness is to open more than 50 female-only studios in Saudi Arabia over the next three years.

In what is the US-based company’s first ever multi-brand international agreement, brands will include Club Pilates, Pure Barre, CycleBar, YogaSix and AKT.

The development will be led by Sultan and Mohammed Alhokair, owners of the newly-established First Agility Company.

“This is an ambitious and unprecedented fitness project for the Middle East, and we believe the Alhokair family and their team will be outstanding partners for Xponential Fitness,” said John Kersh, chief international development officer for Xponential Fitness. “The Saudi Arabian fitness market is poised for significant growth in the coming years, and we are excited for Xponential Fitness and our brands to play an influential role in its development.”

The Xponential Fitness expansion will begin with a five-brand flagship location in Riyadh, expected to open in October.

This article was first published in Arabian Business

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Saudi race driver Reema Juffali makes F4 debut

14/04/19

Reema Juffali made her debut as the first female race driver from Saudi Arabia at the F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend.

Juffali participated in the single-seater motorsport series based in the United Kingdom, driving for the Double R Racing team along with Louis Foster and Sebastian Alvarez.

“It’s been an honor to represent my country, coming into racing later in life means I have a lot more ground to cover in comparison to the other drivers. My goal this season is to improve race to race and be competitive enough to fight in the middle of the pack,” Juffali told Al Arabiya English.

The 27-year-old Northeastern University graduate made her debut competing in two-seater racing in October last year, just months after the ban on women driving was lifted in Saudi Arabia as per a June 2018 royal decree.

“I didn’t grow up around a racing culture and I struggled to imagine even driving a car in Saudi Arabia let alone representing my country as a female racing driver,” she said about women driving in the Kingdom.

“I used to think that racing was something you had to grow into from a young age, but after watching my first Le Mans race, I realized that some of the drivers were much older than me. That’s when I thought ‘why not?’ It’s not too late,” she added.

Juffali said that “one of the great things about motorsport is that women and men can compete against one another on an even playing field. Being the only woman amongst men has never affected me.”

“I’m quite a competitive person so it has actually pushed me to perform and prove my ability even more,” she added.

Juffali said it’s only the beginning of her journey. “I’m learning something new every day. For now, it’s about taking it step by step and making sure I develop my skills as a driver.”

“I love the feeling I get when I’m behind the wheel, that’s where I’m happiest, but more than that it’s the challenge that keeps me going,” she added.

This article was first published in  Al Arabiya English

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Al Arabiya English

Saudi female racer Reema Juffali set for F4 UK championship debut at Brands Hatch

Time: April 04, 2019  

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Trailblazing Saudi Arabian racing driver Reema Juffali is set to make her Formula 4 British Championship Debut at Brands Hatch in the UK at the weekend. (Jakob Ebrey Photography/Formula 4)
  • Juffali, 27, will be racing for defending champions Double R Racing
  • Juffali, on debut, was one of only three women in the GCC to hold a race licence

LONDON: Saudi Arabian racing driver Reema Juffali is set to make her Formula 4 British Championship debut at Brands Hatch at the weekend.

Juffali, 27, will be racing for defending champions Double R Racing with her teammates Louis Foster and Sebastian Alvarez.

Having made her debut in racing in October 2018, a few months after the Kingdom lifted the ban on women driving and started issuing licences in June of the same year, Jeddah-born Juffali said she was excited about the coming year ahead.

“In terms of being from Saudi Arabia, it’s such a great thing for me to do and represent my country,” she said, highlighting her pride at representing Saudi Arabia. She also thanked her family, friends and fans for their support thus far.

“It’s a great honor for me. It’s something I didn’t really think about until quite late in life, I want to say maybe about three or four years ago that I started thinking about the idea of racing. To be here today is quite unbelievable and to have done it in such a short space of time, I’m very grateful and happy about that,” she told the British F4 website.

“It’s a good time in Saudi to be doing such a thing and all the support I’ve gotten from friends, family, people I don’t even know, has been fantastic and it’s only been pushing me to do better.

“Brands Hatch is the heart of motorsport. It’s going to be a tough year in such a competitive championship, but I’m ready for the challenge,” she added.

Juffali, who studied in the US before moving back to the Kingdom, was announced as Double R Racing’s latest addition to the team in March – and having joined the UK-based set-up, she said: “I’m happy to be joining Double R Racing, a championship-winning team with such a great history, and to be competing in British F4 where many great drivers have started.”

Juffali was one of only three women in the GCC to hold a race licence on her debut and the first Saudi female to compete in the TRD 86 Cup at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Team principal Anthony Hieatt said: “We’re really looking forward to working with Reema in British F4 this year and delighted she’s joined Double R for her first full season of racing at any level.

“I know there’s a huge amount for her to learn – the car, the style of racing and all of the British tracks which are very unique – but Reema has shown a great deal of promise already.

“It’s fantastic to be working with someone who is breaking down barriers as Reema is, and has been over the past few months, since she decided to start racing.”

The F4 championship is a multi-event, open-wheel single seater championship held at various racetracks across the UK between April and October.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi camel racing no longer an all-male affair, says Princess Jamila

Time: March 23, 2019  

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Camel racing in Saudi Arabia will no longer be a purely male domain. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • Princess Jamila’s camel will compete in a race marking the conclusion of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival
  • King Salman will attend the grand finale of the 46-day event

JEDDAH: A camel owned by a woman will compete in an official race in Saudi Arabia for the first time, a senior figure in the sport said on Friday.

Fahd bin Hithleen, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Camel Club and the newly appointed president of the International Camel Organization (ICO), said the race is part of the closing day of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, which began on Feb. 5 and ends on March 23.

“The camel race will end this Saturday with the participation of the first female in camel racing,” Hithleen said on his official Twitter account. “I congratulate Princess Jamila Bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz for breaking into the camel world and wish her all the success.”

The festival finale will take place in the presence of King Salman.

Princess Jamila said that camel racing is no longer exclusively the preserve of men, as the ongoing reforms in the country continue to empower Saudi women and open up new opportunities for them across the Kingdom.

The Kingdom established the ICO, the first global group of its kind for camels, on Thursday with the participation of representatives from 96 countries. Riyadh was chosen as the location for its headquarters and Hithleen was appointed to serve a five-year term as its first president.

This article was first published in Arab News

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KSA’s martial arts heroine: ‘I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym’

Time: March 19, 2019  

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photo)
  • Young Saudi triumphant at Open International Tournament despite just two years of training
  • Zahra Al-Qurashi took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi

JEDDAH: Zahra Al-Qurashi never expected to be where she is today: A gold medal winner in full contact kickboxing at the Open International Tournament for Clubs aged just 21. What started out as a gym class two years ago soon turned into a passion, leading to her victory in Amman on Sunday.

“I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym. I found the class and gave it a try, and decided to keep attending the classes,” she said. “A year ago, I joined Flagboxing Gym, and started training with my coach Grethe (Kraugerud). With her help, I developed my style and I am improving every day.”

Full contact is a discipline of kickboxing where punches and kicks must be delivered to legal areas of the body. According to the World Association for Kickboxing Organizations’ rules, it is legal to attack the front of the head and front and side of the torso, using “ankle-level foot sweeps.” It is prohibited to attack the throat, lower abdomen, back, legs, joints, back of the head and top of the shoulders.

A medal at her first international competition, then, speaks volumes about Al-Qurashi’s tenacity. She took the gold in the women’s 70 kg category, beating Jordanian Heba Wasfi.

“As soon as I entered the ring, everything went blank, I couldn’t hear or see anyone but my opponent, so I don’t really recall hearing my name even,” said Al-Qurashi. “I got a couple of really good kicks and punches, but she was a good opponent. I was in my own zone though, following every move and made sure I didn’t make mistakes.”

Zahra Al-Quraishi, 21, is already a gold medal winner at an international event despite being a virtual rookie in the demanding sport of kickboxing. (Supplied photos)

Hala Al-Hamrani, the owner of Flagboxing Gym in Jeddah, said: “I am over the moon. I have dreamt about this happening for 16 years, ever since I started coaching. My goal was to eventually provide the ladies of this country with an opportunity to compete.”

For approximately two months, Kraugerud, from Norway, oversaw Al-Qurashi’s workouts, adding more sparring, interval training and intense ring practice.

“I’ve had Zahra spar with men, who are bigger and stronger than her, to give her a sense of what to expect in the ring, to give her more confidence and make her mentally prepared,” said Kraugerud. “I was very proud of her as she entered the ring, you could see the respect for the sport reflected in her. We did a really good job at Flag, we really pushed for this together as a team. She’s young, but she’s talented and she will go far.”

Al-Hamrani, a member of the Saudi Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation, added: “We got her ready by providing her with the right practice and training. It’s a dream come true and it’s very overwhelming because it was such a long process for something like this to happen. Zahra is an up-and-coming athlete who hopefully has a long future and I’m extremely excited to see what that future holds.”

Abdul Aziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, hailed the result after a tough bout between the two competitors, and thanked Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sport Authority, for the support he had given to the team.

Upon returning to her hometown of Jeddah, Al-Qurashi was greeted by her mother. “I was hugging her and crying and mom, being mom, asked if I was crying because I got hit,” she laughed. “That was her way of saying: I’m proud of you.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Jeddah to play host to Basket Ball World Championships in October

Time: March 18, 2019   

RIYADH – A contract for the Kingdom to play host the Basket Ball World Championships for “Cities 3X3”, in mid-October, was signed here on Monday, Saudi Press Agency said.

The signing ceremony was in the presence of Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee; Abdulrahman Al-Massaad, president of the Saudi Basket Ball Federation and the First Vice President of the Basket Ball World Federation Ignacio Andreas.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal said that the championships will be held, in Jeddah governorate, in October, pointing out that such a move is a preliminary step to host more prestigious world championships, in future, so as to cement the Kingdom clout, on the world sports’.

Meanwhile, the First Vice President of the Basket Ball World Federation Ignacio Andreas expressed thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Basketball Federation to host the Basket Ball World Championships for “Cities 3X3”. He expressed confidence about the Kingdom’s success in hosting the event due to the capabilities and potentials it possesses.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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